Stanley Foundation's Independent Task Force on US Strategies for National Security

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The Stanley Foundation's Independent Task Force on US Strategies for National Security "examines the purpose and role of US power in ensuring its own national security while creating a stable, just, and sustainable global system in the 21st century. Led by former assistant secretary of defense Lawrence J. Korb of the US Council on Foreign Relations, the task force consists of about 25 members and has convened for seven half-day sessions from September 2002 through May 2003. The discussions have considered the moral, economic, political, and military role of the United States in shaping the new global security environment."[1]

Task Force Members

  • Lawrence J. Korb, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense; Project Chair
  • Michael Kraig, Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation; Project Organizer
  • Alex Tiersky, Research Associate, Council on Foreign Relations; Project Rapporteur


"Counterproliferation and Cooperative Security: The Future of Disarmament, Arms Control, and Nonproliferation." Notes from the Third Meeting of the Stanley Foundation's Independent Task Force on US Strategies for National Security (May 21, 2003)." Chaired by Dr. Larry Korb, The Council on Foreign Relations. Summarized by Dr. Michael Kraig, Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation. Based upon Notes Taken by Rapporteur, Alex Tiersky, Graduate Student, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.

"Materials from these and other sessions will form the basis of a hard copy Task Force Report, which will be officially released at policy briefings in New York and Washington, DC in September 2003. The Report will also be fully accessible via the Stanley Foundation reports page and Strategies for National Security home page by late September 2003."

From the May 21, 2003 Notes:

There "has been a very strong emphasis in major Bush Administration policy announcements and speeches on acquiring unilateral options for dealing with WMD threats. This is evident in the 2002 State of the Union address, the West Point speech; the Nuclear Posture Review of January 2002; the National Security Strategy of September 2002; and the WMD Strategy of December 2002. The worldview of this administration is coherent and tracks well with action. Real policy actions include:

  • a new emphasis on preventive and preemptive options (new weapons including nuclear weapons)
  • a focus on "regime-icide." "Our ultimate threat against these guys is that we can take them out - we've done it twice now, in Kosovo and Iraq."
  • We are now trying to deter acquisition of WMD, rather than use of weapons after acquisition has occurred; the United States has adopted a strategy of dissuasion, in which emerging regional powers are dissauded from even thinking about trying to acquire weapons, because simply acquiring them opens the door to regime decapitation and elimination - something that the Bush Administration hopes will be seen as too risky to attempt.
  • Defenses in general have been given a huge boost in funding. This includes not only missile defense ($9-10 bill/year), but also Homeland Security options such as customs, emergency response, and so on. There is now a tremendous emphasis on protecting ourselves from the bad guys; this also means aggressive diplomacy towards the bad guys.

Where does this leave arms control? There are two priorities evident in the Bush Administration:

Task Force Sessions

  • Session 7, May 21-22, 2003: Wrap-Up: Grand Strategy Alternatives.
  • Session 6, May 21-22, 2003: Regional Strategies (Middle East and Asia).
  • Session 5, May 21-22, 2003: Counterproliferation and Hegemony Versus Cooperative Security.
  • Session 4, March 20, 2003: The 'Soft' Side of Grand Strategy: Economics and Democratic Values.
  • Session 3, January 17, 2003: The US Grand Strategy.
  • Session 2, November 20, 2002: The Ins and Outs of the New Bush National Security Strategy.
  • Session 1, September 20, 2002: Toward a Consensus View of the Security Environment.

See Reading Lists (with links to articles), Agenda, and Meeting Notes.


The Stanley Foundation
209 Iowa Avenue
Muscatine, IA 52761 USA
Phone: 563-264-1500
Fax: 563-264-0864

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